Will APEC leaders wear this for this week's official APEC photograph?
Australian Prime Minister John Howard assured Asia Pacific leaders Monday that they would not have to parade around Sydney in tiny swimsuits and flip-flops for this week's official APEC photograph.
But there is speculation the 21 government leaders will don Australian bush outfits when they line up for the obligatory Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) photograph in the host nation's traditional costume.
As Australia lacks a distinctive national outfit, wags have had a field day making helpful suggestions about how to clothe the leaders in a manner that reflects life Down Under.
Some want to see them clad in men's lycra Speedo swimming trunks, paired with the flip-flop sandals or thongs that are must-have wear for the Australian beach.
Howard ruled out any such affront to the dignity of his honoured guests, saying only that the APEC outfit would be "very Australian".
"The only Australian garb I'd rule out is Speedos and thongs," Howard said. "I don't think I'd do that, that wouldn't be very diplomatic.
"Think Australian. Think Australian in a very positive way, one we all identify with."
The Akubra wide-brimmed hat worn by Australian bushmen is considered a strong possibility, along with oilskin coats and boots.
Howard admitted the often colourful consumes selected for APEC meetings sometimes raised the eyebrows of the leaders who had to wear them, including US President George W. Bush.
"Looking at me and me looking at him in one of the less memorable (outfits) -- Bush said, 'Thank heavens I've just had my election.' The suggestion being that he wouldn't win very many votes being photographed in that," Howard said.
The Australian leader said his favourite APEC outfit was a leather bomber jacket handed out at the 1997 meeting in Canada.
"It was so good, both my sons wanted to purloin it when I brought it back," he said.